‘Uduak-Abasi confessed strangling Umoren with her jeans trousers’
By Onome Naomi
IN continuation of trial of Uduak-Abasi Akpan, his father Mr. Frank Akpan, and sister Anwan Bassey Akpan over the alleged rape, and murder of Iniubong Umoren, a staff of the Department of Security Services, DSS, Akwa Ibom state command, Mr. Ama Okeke has given evidence before state High court sitting in Uyo.
The DSS officer who appeared in court on Wednesday February 9, 2022, as the 10th Prosecution Witness (PW10) testified that the three accused persons made their confessional statements to the Special incident Response unit of the DSS, Uyo.
PW10 who told the court that the, first, second and third accused persons made their statements voluntarily on June 3, 2021, June 11, 2021, and September 23rd, 2021 respectively, added that both the first and second accused persons were transferred to the DSS station alongside with their phones used for detailed analysis.
Okeke testified that in the course of their investigation it was discovered that the first accused person (Uduak-Abasi Akpan) had conversation with late Miss Iniubong Umoren.
The witness who told the Court further that based on the statement of the investigation team traveled to Calabar where they tracked the late Umoren’s Samson Galaxy phone and also arrested the third accused person.
He also told the Court that while the first accused person was making his statement that his team recorded it on video.
His words: “My Lord, the first accused person (Uduak-Abasi Akpan) told our investigation team that Iniubong Umoren refused to have sex with him and struggled with him. He also told us that while the deceased was struggling with him that he observed that she sent a voice note to someone but he didn’t know who She sent the voice note to.
” The first accused person also said the deceased repeatedly asked if he wanted to kill her, and that he had told her only if She would allow him have sex with her. He also told us that even when he overpowered the deceased, She told him that she will allow him only if he used condom.
” The first accused person also told the investigation team that in the process of having sex with the deceased, he removed the condom and the deceased started struggling with him again. He said while he was still on top of the deceased, she carried an iron and hit him on the forehead.
“He said that in order not for the deceased to shout, he Uduak-Abasi now collected a black cloth and stuffed into her mouth and tied her mouth. He said he then used a standby stabilizer and hit her on the abdomen. From that point, the first accused said the deceased started bleeding profusely. He told us that he became afraid as if she had already died.
“The first accused also said he used the Jeans trouser of the deceased to strangle her completely. The first accused told us that he now stepped out of the house and went to the compound, found a space and dug a 3feet grave and then went back to where the body of the deceased was, dragged the body with her Jeans trouser tied on her neck to the grave.
“He further told the investigating team that he wrapped her (deceased) body with a blanket and with her mouth still tied, and the Jeans on her neck and buried her in the grave. He further told us that the incident happened between 13:00hours to 20:00hours on the 29th of April, 2021”.
The witness told the court that the first accused further told them that after burying the deceased in the shallow grave, he now went back to where he killed Iniubong Umoren and cleaned the blood and tidied up the place so that nobody will know what happened.
Okeke further testified that in the course of their investigation and also interview with the first accused, he told them that the second accused person, Frank Akpan who is his father was not around when the incident happened.
Witness said Uduak-Abasi told them that early hours of 30th of April 2021, when he opened his Facebook page he saw news with his picture and that of late Iniubong Umoren trending that he was the one that kidnapped her.
“The first accused person said that it was what made him to tell his father that he wanted to go to Calabar to meet the sister, the third accused person. My Lord the first accused also told us that he traveled to Calabar through Oron with a speed boat taking along with him the bag and phone of the deceased.
“He (first accused) said he dropped the bag and phone of the deceased in the third accused person’s house. He also said late Iniubong Umoren was not the first person he had lured to his house in Nung Ikono Obio”, Okeke testified.
Okeke further told the Court that with the confessional statement of the first accused his team traveled to Calabar were able to the track and recover the deceased, Samsung Galaxy phone, adding that two persons who were arrested in respect of the phone are currently standing trial.
The trial Judge Justice Bassey Nkanang admitted the Samson Galaxy phone tendered in evidence by the prosecution and marked it as Exhibit 13
Nkanang also admitted in evidence two phones belonging to the first accused person and two Nokia phones belonging to the 2nd accused person and marked the four phones as Exhibits 14, 15, 16 and 17.
However, the prosecution at the point of tendering the confessional statement of the first accused person in evidence, his Lawyer , Samson Adula raised an objection on the grounds that the statement was not made voluntarily by his client.
Justice Nkanang adjourned the case till February 15, for a trial-within- trial to be conducted to determine the claim of involuntariness of the statement.